Unknown to many an African, there is a world war ongoing. Unlike conventional warfare, this war is being waged in the media and is of an intellectual nature. However, the nature of this war makes it as bloody as conventional warfare, with alliances formed and broken at will; with betrayals, and backstabbing, as commonplace as in the days of the sea pirates whose names are forever etched upon history’s bosom.
Our soul, that thing that makes us unique, is the trophy, for which soldiers do battle now. You might not know it, but the common notion that Africa is a continent of all-round darkness – dark deeds, dark diseases, dark gods, dark people and darker desires – is being challenged by an invention that the world did not reckon with, the Internet.
Surely, the inventors of the Internet did not contend with us, when they thought up the possibility of linking computers (Please no Emagwalish smart words). Surely, Nokia, Sonny, Microsoft and the lot of them thought little about the marketability of their products in the African continent, when they drew their initial market surveys. Had they given us a bit of thought, perhaps they would have been on ground when we took off for the skies, leaving them to play catch-up with our pirated phones, software and whatnot, with which we not only jumpstarted our digital age, but bridged the gap they are so keen to talk about.
No, the war for Africa’s soul did not start with connection to the worldwide web; it started centuries ago, immediately the first white skinned son of Adam left the wood and metal sailing ships that bore them across the seas and stepped leather shod feet on our soil. The only difference now is that, unlike in those days when we thought of them as magical beings, they are no longer winning the war. That is not to say they are not winning battles, but gone are those blanket wins that mentally enslaved generations of our kin to the notion of being subservient to them.
The Internet, unlike traditional, western run, media and the educational system that birthed it, by its nature, is not racist. It allows everyone to have a say on the affairs of the world, be they from a rich nation or a poor one. Hence, we are now able to counter those institutionalised lies about us that have remained unshaken for centuries.
Yes, the movies may still depict us as being backward primitives that dwell in obscure villages. The mainstream media may still report us as violent savages that at a whim, kill and pillage with wanton abandon. The NGOs may still be using us for their established 419s and the government of so-called 1st world nations still point to us, when they need shock images to call their over pampered citizens to order, but we are finally having a say.
Someday, in the future, when we have found pride in ourselves again and can stand firm on our natural footing without artificially straightened hair, whitened skin and pride in a foreign language, we will look back and say never again shall we be made to look up to another race as the saviours of our race.
That, my brothers and sisters, is what the battle is about; and it is worth every sweat, blood, and energy spent on it.
Your cynical scoffs and half embarrassed laughter at that brother on TV, speaking English with a native African accent, makes this war worth the winning. The time you spend at the saloon rubbing carcinogenic chemicals into your scalp all in the bid to have hair that slicks back like a Caucasian woman’s, makes it imperative; and I don’t think I need to mention the whitening creams too.
Like all wars, there is a great need for soldiers who would take the fight to the enemy, which in this case, is the western establishment and the greatly biased media that propagate their ideal to the detriment of that of others. And chattering like spoiled kids on social media is one way to lose this war.
Social media should be respected for what with is, a battle ground where cultures clash. It is not like the conventional battleground, for it grants opposing warriors equal ability.
Instead of yapping about some new tattoo fad, research our tribal markings and let them know where it is from, and what it signifies. Instead of spending hours arguing and cursing each other to high heavens on any YouTube video featuring an African musician, talk about how that artist incorporates different African instruments and rhythms to create that amazing beat.
Instead of foolishly trading tribal slurs on the Internet, spend time and research not just your language, but also the hundreds of languages around you. Find out what makes your neighbour different and those things that you hold in common, and sell that to the world… see them respect you when they see your grasp of issues.
Above all, know your enemy. The western society is not just about Channel, Prada, Rock music and half-nude women on the beach. They have a history too, and it is much more brutal than anything thing you’ve heard about African civilisations. Learn this history and run comparisons where necessary. Use knowledge to your advantage or lose yourself to the onslaught.